Wednesday, January 31, 2007

How does Parliament Represent You?

Hackney South MP, Meg Hillier, invited me to a meeting women MPs held in the House of Commons last week to look at the parliamentary record of gender representation across all parties.

How representative are your MPs? Well, if you look at the Labour Party's record, representation is going in the right direction. Women now make up 27% for all Labour MPs.

There are currently 97 Labour women MPs out of 354 Labour MPs. The aim is to increase that number to try to get at least 40% of women in Parliament by the next General Election.

The cake in the photographs show the reprsentation across the parties

Councillor Carole Williams

X Factor's Robert Allen Comes to Hackney Empire

X Factor’s Robert Allen presented awards to young people from Hackney at the annual Trailblazer’s Award Ceremony.

The award ceremony which started in 2005 was repeated again this year and students given awards for achievements in five categories: academic achievement, sports, creative arts, musical excellence and personal development.

Hackney award ceremonies are always a night of high emotion, excitement and anticipation. This year was no exception and having Robert in the line-up heightened the anticipation, raised pulse rates and got the crowd screaming.

The Hackney Gazette article can be read on The Learning Trust Website.

Councillor Carole Williams

Local Licensing Applications Received Week ending 26th January 2007.

Please see below three nearby licensing applications/reviews Hackney has received that you may wish to comment on:


123 Shoreditch High Street
London E1 6JE

Sgt Kevan Coleman (Met. Police)

Brief summary of application:

Application to review premises licence on the grounds of the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety and the prevention of public nuisance.

Closing date for representations:


The Spreadeagle

1-3 Kingsland Road London E2 8AA

Ms Jesus

Brief summary of application:

Application to vary existing licence to allow supply of alcohol, and regulated entertainment comprising of films, live/recorded, facilities for making music/dancing and any facilities of a similar description from 10:00 until 04:00 Mon to Sat and from 12:00 until 00:00 on Sun.

Closing date for representations:


The Plaza

165 Kingsland Road
London E2 8AL


Sgt Kevan Coleman (Met. Police)

Brief summary of application:

Application to review premises licence on the grounds of the prevention of crime and disorder and public safety.

Closing date for representations:


Please let any of us know if you have any concerns about this application.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

What does it take to Build a School?

After working continuously for the past eighteen months I finally took a break this New Year. Along with a group of 27 people from the South England I went to Peru to work with a small charity within a small community in Pucullpa, Peru. .

Our task was to assist in building a new School as the current one had been condemned by the local government.

It didn’t look too bad for a 46 year-old school but the upper floor was no longer safe, the hot midday sun would stream through the glass-less windows of the upper school and during the rainy season the rains would flood the teacher’s staff room. The grounds also had insufficient space for playing, outdoor-sports or the separation of primary and secondary school children. The current school library is small and cramped with little in the way of books learning materials. The school is able to teach computing but the quality of the machines was questionable.

When you consider that the school body is made up of 300 students (175 Elementary School students and 125 High School students) you can begin to see the problems and the task that lay ahead of us.

The start of the project saw the building of two new classrooms and a toilet block with an additional two to be built in this phase of the programme. When more funds are raised another identical block will be built directly behind this one.

The location for the new building was ideal in many ways but it had its own problems and challenges. The site is 4.5km from the current school, but even in such a short distance, we saw an incredible and dramatic change in the socio-economic profile of the local community.

The current location is in the centre of town where there are relative signs of wealth. The new building is going up in an area surrounded by communities who live in extreme poverty - it wasn’t unusual for us to turn up for a 7am start and see families, alongside the vultures, going through the local rubbish tip. The housing is poor, the roads full of potholes and local facilities are limited.

This group of 27 people from the UK were always going to stand out in this community and every day we saw groups of children and adults coming to see what we were doing. Questions were asked about the new school and why we were there, friendships were made and laughter shared

By spending this time in Peru we were able to get an insight into what it is like to live in extreme poverty and we were fortunate enough to see the hope in the eyes of local children and saw a world of possibilities opening up.

There was no way that a group of 27 were going to complete a new school building (especially when you consider the number of days lost to illness, accidents, and other incidents). In fact, the foundations should have been prepared for us to build on. The summer rains, however, prevented work being completed on the foundations and on arrival we saw the extent of the task ahead of us.

There were foundations which still needed to be poured. Where foundations had been poured but not filled, we had to remove rain waters and refill holes large enough for the person of average height to stand in. Walls had to be built and the grounds levelled.

There was a lot of work done but we have left behind a team of Peruvian construction workers with less work and more encouragement. We left behind a community not only with a vision and hope for a new school but with the actual structures part completed.

It was a great way to spend the New Year break and the loss of our luggage to the Peruvian mafia will not be able to take away the experience!

Councillor Carole Williams

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New powers will be coming soon to help local residents tackle anti-social behavior on Estates in Hoxton.


One of the most common issues local councillors face is the issue of anti-social behavior. Often local residents know who is to blame, but sometimes find it hard to get others to translate this information into action. Meaning that residents are left frustrated and intimidated by the actions of a minority.

The Government yesterday, recognised that it is local people, with local knowledge who are in the best position to help tackle these issues - so they announced that resident groups on estates are to be given new powers to tackle anti-social behaviour and take day-to-day control of council services.

New regulations laid before Parliament yesterday will for the first time give Tenant Management Organisations (TMOs) powers to apply for Anti-Social Behaviour Orders. This means that TMOs in Hoxton on Cranston, Arden and Wenlock Barn Estates could soon have these new powers to help tackle ASB on their estates.

Powers of this kind are at the heart of the Government's Respect programme which is about giving people power and a real sense of ownership over their services and public spaces.

There will be clear safeguards to ensure the new powers are used responsibly, but, where a TMO has been assessed as competent, the Government sees no reason why it should not be delegated ASBO functions.

The new ASBO powers are a key element of the Labour's wider commitment to make social housing more responsive to the needs of social tenants. It is a commitment underpinned by the huge investment Labour in Hackney are putting into council housing in the borough through the Decent Homes Programme and improvements to estate security.

With the right safeguards and support I believe the TMO's in Hoxton will be ideally placed to use these new powers when they become available. And with the backing of us as local Labour Councillors, Hackney Homes and the Police - continue our efforts to make our estates safer.

Cllr Philip Glanville